We are living in the end of times. It feels like it doesn’t it? I have half a mind to read Revelations to see what I should be looking out for. It’s something like half men, half horses on fire right?
If you’ve ever been in a bad car accident you can understand how time feels both slowed down and sped up. The seconds between looking in your rear view mirror and tensing up while waiting for impact can feel like an eternity while at the same time everything is happening so fast it feels like there’s nothing you can do to stop the momentum, the crash. I remember when I was hit by eight cars one summer, how I looked up and like some violent premonition, saw what was about to happen. I remember taking my hands off the wheel because I didn’t trust myself to know how to best steer, which according to highway patrol was the best thing, otherwise I might have broken my wrists. I remember feeling so small and helpless and scared.
I still feel that way whenever there’s a close call. When I almost change lanes but at the last second see a car that was in my blind spot and there’s the rush of realizing that everything was almost over.
That’s how I feel all of the time right now. That’s how a lot of us feel. Small, helpless, scared. The month of March has felt like several years. Can you believe we’re still in the same month that Mayor Pete dropped out? That Parasite won best picture? That my biggest concern was who was left in the presidential race?
Everything right now feels so incredibly slow but also like it is moving at lightning speed. We’re looking in our rear view mirrors, at how other countries are fairing, at all of the people infected or dead, and we’re waiting for it to hit. We have the benefit of seeing how other parts of the world have handled the pandemic, the hindsight those countries didn’t have, but we aren’t using it. We’re slowly watching as the proverbial cars pile up, as the hospitals in major cities are getting overwhelmed, as people stop being able to breathe, as hundreds die, and we aren’t taking our hands off the wheel.
We all think we know best, or better, and we’re willing to break our wrists to test it. The government, at both federal and state levels, isn’t listening to those who know best. They aren’t learning from the hindsight we’re so lucky to have. They see whats coming but they’re imagining it won’t happen. They want to believe that the cars on this collision course will move at the last second, that this is all just going to be a close call. They are imagining that the cure is worse than the problem, when the cure is really just to listen, to let go of the wheel, to accept the guidance we’ve been offered.
There is nothing worse than the problem. No amount of economic fragility or failure is worse than the loss of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of lives.
So we must do what we can, even if it feels like nothing, even if it’s letting go of what makes us feel in control, for the sake of our wrists. We need to listen to healthcare professionals and we need to pay attention to what is working and what has worked for other countries. We have the benefit of the rear view mirror, of hindsight, of knowing what’s coming.
Social distancing, isolating, and staying home feels a lot like taking your hands off of the steering wheel but it is the only thing that will protect us right now and keep as many people from getting sick and maybe even dying as possible.
The government and its officials may not be making the right call, they may not have issued stay in place orders or shut down non-essential businesses but we still have the ability to make the cure possible. To show them that they are the problem. That we are willing to do what it takes to protect ourselves and others.
There is an end to this and we all have to work together to ensure that the end isn’t the worst case scenario.
So stay home and stay safe. I’ll buy you a drink when this is over.